Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

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hpk
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Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby hpk » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:20 pm

Hi everyone. I'm looking for some advice; any thoughts you have would be helpful.

I'm a 26 year old software engineer who's kind of sick of software development. I'm looking for a new challenge and considering a career change to something like IP law (probably patent law). In no particular order, and at the risk of being somewhat less than anonymous, here are some questions I'm grappling with:

1) I currently make $110k with four years of work experience - great money for my age, I know, but engineer/developer salaries tend to start large and plateau fairly quickly. I can reasonably expect to top out at something like $160k without a career change or move into management. So, the question is, would the total cost of law school (tuition plus the opportunity cost of 3 years of missed income) be worth getting onto a new track with a larger income ceiling?

2) Would any IP/patent attorneys be able to talk about the variety of their work and quality of life? I've heard two very different stories about patent law: that it's mind-numbingly dull work, consisting of endless patent applications and not much else, and that it's a highly engaging environment, requiring constant learning and lots of new challenges. Anyone care to offer their opinions?

3) I'm married, no kids, and just bought a house in a large Midwestern city a couple years ago. There are no T14 schools in my state, but one T20 and a couple other lower tier schools. It would be convenient to not have to sell the house and move to a T14 school, but if going to anything else is a waste of time and money, I'm willing to bite the bullet. I have a 3.36 GPA from UMich (BS Electrical Engineering) and got a 170 on the first LSAT practice test I took with no preparation. So I'm confident I can get a great LSAT score, but not so happy about my undergrad GPA. Would shooting for a T14 school be reasonable? Would going to my local T20 state school be a waste?

4) How are IP/patent law job prospects in the Midwest? Would I have to move to one of the coasts in order to actually find an interesting and high-paying job?

Sorry for the deluge of questions; as you can tell, I'm very early in the process of getting my shit together.

Thanks!

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crossarmant
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby crossarmant » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:29 pm

hpk wrote:Hi everyone. I'm looking for some advice; any thoughts you have would be helpful.

I'm a 26 year old software engineer who's kind of sick of software development. I'm looking for a new challenge and considering a career change to something like IP law (probably patent law). In no particular order, and at the risk of being somewhat less than anonymous, here are some questions I'm grappling with:


1) I currently make $110k with four years of work experience - great money for my age, I know, but engineer/developer salaries tend to start large and plateau fairly quickly. [s]I can reasonably expect to top out at something like $160k without a career change or move into management. So, the question is, would the total cost of law school (tuition plus the opportunity cost of 3 years of missed income) be worth getting onto a new track with a larger income ceiling?

2) Would any IP/patent attorneys be able to talk about the variety of their work and quality of life? I've heard two very different stories about patent law: that it's mind-numbingly dull work, consisting of endless patent applications and not much else, and that it's a highly engaging environment, requiring constant learning and lots of new challenges. Anyone care to offer their opinions?

3) I'm married, no kids, and just bought a house in a large Midwestern city a couple years ago. There are no T14 schools in my state, but one T20 and a couple other lower tier schools. It would be convenient to not have to sell the house and move to a T14 school, but if going to anything else is a waste of time and money, I'm willing to bite the bullet. I have a 3.36 GPA from UMich (BS Electrical Engineering) and got a 170 on the first LSAT practice test I took with no preparation. So I'm confident I can get a great LSAT score, but not so happy about my undergrad GPA. Would shooting for a T14 school be reasonable? Would going to my local T20 state school be a waste?

4) How are IP/patent law job prospects in the Midwest? Would I have to move to one of the coasts in order to actually find an interesting and high-paying job?

Sorry for the deluge of questions; as you can tell, I'm very early in the process of getting my shit together.

Thanks!


--ImageRemoved--

In all seriousness, do not go to law school, you have a great thing going. Chances are you won't like BigLaw either. You're married, own a home, and make a great living as it is (more than most attorneys).

Don't go.

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Mad Hatter
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby Mad Hatter » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:36 pm

NO

If you're bored, switch jobs - and be thankful that you can. Leaving a field that is on a long-term upswing and paying half a million dollars (when opportunity costs are taken into account) to join one that is in systemic decline is an objectively terrible idea.

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rayiner
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:58 pm

I was in a similar position (though not as far out of undergrad), decided to go to law school, and don't regret it.

If you got a 170 diagnostic, you can easily hit 175+. My diagnostic was 167, and I got a 176. With a 175+/3.4, you can get scholarship money at Northwestern. Your work experience and background will make you highly employable.

The people ragging about the "systematic decline of law" don't know what they're talking about. Law is projected to grow 10% over the next 10 years, substantially more than most engineering fields (5-6%). Not as fast as software engineering, but a lot of the growth in software is coming from relatively low-paying code monkey positions. In engineering, unless you move into management, you'll always be a code monkey, with some executive taking 95% of the value you bring into the company. Even at the most over-leveraged big law firm your salary amounts to more like 25% of the revenue you bring in.

Yes, law has an oversupply problem, but it also heavily filters based on standardized test scores in a way engineering doesn't. If you get a 175+ and go to a top school, you'll never be in competition with the 90% of law students who will not get a job at a big firm after graduation.

The real question, though, is do you think you'll enjoy being a lawyer. I do, quite a bit. It's less creative than software development, but also more cerebral in many ways (at least, litigation is). If you don't like law school and being a lawyer, it'll be a miserable experience.

Also, you're in either Minnesota or St. Louis. There is a very sharp distinction between T14 and T20, such that going to a T14 would be far preferable in terms of job prospects. As a practical matter, you'll have to move to Chicago, where all the IP lit work in the midwest is anyway. And Northwestern has a ton of former engineers. 8 of 62 people in my section were engineers.

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fatduck
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby fatduck » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:12 pm

rayiner wrote:I was in a similar position (though not as far out of undergrad), decided to go to law school, and don't regret it.

If you got a 170 diagnostic, you can easily hit 175+. My diagnostic was 167, and I got a 176. With a 175+/3.4, you can get scholarship money at Northwestern. Your work experience and background will make you highly employable.

The people ragging about the "systematic decline of law" don't know what they're talking about. Law is projected to grow 10% over the next 10 years, substantially more than most engineering fields (5-6%). Not as fast as software engineering, but a lot of the growth in software is coming from relatively low-paying code monkey positions. In engineering, unless you move into management, you'll always be a code monkey, with some executive taking 95% of the value you bring into the company. Even at the most over-leveraged big law firm your salary amounts to more like 25% of the revenue you bring in.

Yes, law has an oversupply problem, but it also heavily filters based on standardized test scores in a way engineering doesn't. If you get a 175+ and go to a top school, you'll never be in competition with the 90% of law students who will not get a job at a big firm after graduation.

The real question, though, is do you think you'll enjoy being a lawyer. I do, quite a bit. It's less creative than software development, but also more cerebral in many ways (at least, litigation is). If you don't like law school and being a lawyer, it'll be a miserable experience.

agreed, although part-time might be a good option for you, too (and maybe wouldn't require you to move, depending on where you are).

ignore the "OMG U HAVE A JOB? NEVER QUIT" responses.

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englawyer
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby englawyer » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:15 pm

i +1 all of rayiner's post.

the one thing i would add is that financially it is probably only worth it if you are fairly confident you want a law firm career. that means lots of stress and lots of hours. unlike most law students, doing a few years of firm work followed by a cushy 40 hr/wk in-house or government job would not make much financial sense (since you would arrive at roughly the same salary as you would later in your career as an engineer). my impression is that most in-house staff do not break 200k.

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Mad Hatter
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby Mad Hatter » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:39 pm

@Rayiner/fatduck:

What am I missing here? The guy gives the following not-entirely-compelling reasons for wanting to switch out of a job at which he is currently making, on an per-hour basis,more than starting biglaw salary:
kind of sick of software development...looking for a new challenge...

For these reasons, he is considering picking up and moving his family, expending half a million dollars, and spending 3 years in hell - all on the chance that he actually likes law! And what does he get once those 3 years are over? Even assuming he gets biglaw (IP secure!!1!), based on attrition rates his chances of making partner are what, 20%? Until then, as an associate, he'd be making pretty much the same as his current gig. Obviously, software development isn't as structured as LS->Associate->Partner, but there are plenty of big paydays to be had. Hell, he would probably be far into the ranks of upper-management by the time he could even start thinking about making partner (10+ years from now), and I'm pretty sure the QOL as a tech manager is waaay better than that of a biglaw partner. This isn't an "OMG U HAVE A JOB? NEVER QUIT" response, it's an "OMG you have a job and house and family and you want to go into massive debt for the chance to vie for a job that will likely make you miserable and pay no more than your current one? DON'T QUIT". In terms of NPV, I'm pretty sure this is a no-go.

Then again, Rayiner sounds like he knows of what he speaks, so I'll bow out at this point.
Last edited by Mad Hatter on Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lukertin
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby lukertin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:46 pm

Rayiner is correct on all points, you should heed his wisdom.

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englawyer
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby englawyer » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:11 pm

Mad Hatter wrote:based on attrition rates his chances of making partner are what, 20%?


IP is really in demand. i would say his chances of making partner SOMEWHERE, provided he is willing to put in the hours and deal with the stress, are pretty good once you get your foot into biglaw.

Mad Hatter wrote:Until then, as an associate, he'd be making pretty much the same as his current gig. Obviously, software development isn't as structured as LS->Associate->Partner, but there are plenty of big paydays to be had.


not really. he makes low 100's now, and at his career level (4-5 yr software engineer), absent job switching the company will probably give CoL or slightly more raises (like 4-5%). remember, he said topping out at the first yr salary of an associate. 10-15k raises are just not happening in software after the first couple years.

Mad Hatter wrote: Hell, he would probably be far into the ranks of upper-management by the time he could even start thinking about making partner (10+ years from now), and I'm pretty sure the QOL as a tech manager is waaay better than that of a biglaw partner.


he would not be in upper management. code monkey -> ceo is pretty damn unlikely. and if you do that path, the level of sacrifice and career-dedication is probably higher than even biglaw (think like taking an overseas office assignment for a few years, constant traveling, etc).

more likely, he would either stay as a software engineer or go into something like "project management" where his job would basically be to babysit the engineers and make sure they are showing up for work and filling out their timesheets and stuff. or maybe marking off "percent complete" on some inane progress chart for presentation to upper management. and when corporate HQ decides its time for layoffs that mid-level is the most vulnerable. these mid-level managers seem like they have pretty empty work lives..they have lots of work/life balance and time for family but for the most part don't care about their careers and will never break the 200k ceiling.

Mad Hatter wrote: "OMG you have a job and house and family and you want to go into massive debt for the chance to vie for a job that will likely make you miserable and pay no more than your current one? DON'T QUIT". In terms of NPV, I'm pretty sure this is a no-go.

Then again, Rayiner sounds like he knows of what he speaks, so I'll bow out at this point.


the concerns about selling house, leaving job, massive debt are all valid. i would say NPV is positive, but the upfront cost is massively high.

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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:13 pm

Grownups who have had jobs/career prior to law school understand that just because you have a job, and perhaps a job that pays well doesn't mean you can't consider a career change.
The average adult changes jobs about 10 times. Law school can be a great way to make a career change. Having worked previously your focus and your expectations about law school are going to be a bit different than someone that's trying to get their first real job in life.
There are a number of schools that can provide you with a great experience as an older student, give you a lot of money to attend (based on grades, LSAT) and will gladly accept you into the class because they will appreciate the diversity you bring to the overall atmosphere with your background. You're also highly employable. The odds that you'll end up with a higher paying job, or a more satisfying job than your current job is actually pretty high. Legal employers will appreciate your previous experience. Almost every person in my firm's IP dept has signifiant w/e before joining full time as an associate. And many of them worked for the firm not only during 2L summer but also during the entire 3L year as patent agents. It was very win-win.

Is there a possibility that you don't like law school--of course there is, but you don't really like your current situation either. You're probably mature enough to make a decision about how much debt you can handle and whether or not you want to uproot your family in order to attend a school in a different city from where you live. These are concerns that most people on this forum and most in law school have never had to deal with, and therefore the thought of leaving a 6-figure job to enter the uncertainty of the legal profession sounds absurd. But it could be very rewarding for you.
I couldn't be happier to have changed careers. I made some huge gambles and they paid off. My w/e was always looked upon favorably and has always given me something to discuss at interviews, with colleagues, partners, and clients.

hpk
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby hpk » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:37 pm

Thanks for the responses so far. These are all excellent viewpoints, and I appreciate them coming from both sides.

Mad Hatter wrote:he is considering picking up and moving his family, expending half a million dollars, and spending 3 years in hell - all on the chance that he actually likes law!


I agree, this is a significant risk to take on the chance that I might like law. Rest assured it's not a decision I'll make without much more research. I plan on chatting with/shadowing some IP attorneys if I can.

englawyer wrote:he makes low 100's now, and at his career level (4-5 yr software engineer), absent job switching the company will probably give CoL or slightly more raises (like 4-5%). remember, he said topping out at the first yr salary of an associate. 10-15k raises are just not happening in software after the first couple years.


Exactly. To add another piece to this equation: Currently, the only reason I'm making 110k now is because I work remotely for a startup out of NYC. This salary is much harder to get from a Midwest company, since their pay is tied to the lower cost of living here. So my prospects for continuing/advancing at this level (with similar living costs) are even slimmer than I initially let on.

Also, my career up to this point has been mostly with startups. I've experienced large salary increases with each switch, but as mentioned, that trend is about to plateau. Since I've worked for startups for the last few years, I'm used to the long hours and high risk that entails. My understanding is that a law career requires similar long hours, but less risk, and ultimately a greater chance at financial reward. Does that seem off base?

Again, really appreciate the views from both sides.

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lnllnl
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby lnllnl » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:55 pm

2012JayDee wrote:Grownups who have had jobs/career prior to law school understand that just because you have a job, and perhaps a job that pays well doesn't mean you can't consider a career change.


+1

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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby tesoro » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:59 pm

Just to throw this in the mix: You don't have to leave the 100k pay bracket to go to law school. Google "technical advisor." Many general practice firms offer this position. Essentially, this is a job at a law firm, where you're on the partner track before attending law school, and the firm pays most or all of your tuition.

You would attend law school at night, work as a patent agent, be expected to bill 1500/yr, and earn 100k with 10+% yearly raises, and you'd have your tuition completely paid for. I can't speak for the midwest, but I know these jobs are plentiful in NY, DC, Boston, LA and SF/SV. Night schools exist in each of these areas, and many people who attend them are in these programs.

This makes school a bit harder, but there's no (financial) opportunity cost involved in attending law school in this manner. And depending on the firm, it can be pretty interesting/engaging work. Furthermore, the stress is removed, because you'll have a guaranteed, market-paying job waiting for you upon graduation. Have you thought about this, OP?

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rayiner
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby rayiner » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:07 am

englawyer wrote:he would not be in upper management. code monkey -> ceo is pretty damn unlikely. and if you do that path, the level of sacrifice and career-dedication is probably higher than even biglaw (think like taking an overseas office assignment for a few years, constant traveling, etc).


I mean this is the gist of it. To move into upper management you need to go spend 2 years and $150k getting an MBA. You're not "working your way up" at a mature, established F500 tech company.

Also, I used to work at a startup, so I have a pretty good idea of the situation OP is in. Startups are a great way to get experience and pay raises while young, but they're not big enough to have real upward career trajectories inside the company. And even in this day and age of Dewey, they're far more risky than law firms.

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Mad Hatter
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby Mad Hatter » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:14 am

rayiner wrote:
englawyer wrote:he would not be in upper management. code monkey -> ceo is pretty damn unlikely. and if you do that path, the level of sacrifice and career-dedication is probably higher than even biglaw (think like taking an overseas office assignment for a few years, constant traveling, etc).


I mean this is the gist of it. To move into upper management you need to go spend 2 years and $150k getting an MBA. You're not "working your way up" at a mature, established F500 tech company.

Also, I used to work at a startup, so I have a pretty good idea of the situation OP is in. Startups are a great way to get experience and pay raises while young, but they're not big enough to have real upward career trajectories inside the company. And even in this day and age of Dewey, they're far more risky than law firms.

Yeah I was just about to recommend the MBA path to OP. BSchools admissions won't penalize much for the "low" (pretty avg for Bschools) GPA, especially if you have a 750+ GMAT (not hard for an American engineer), and top BSchools are really hungry for tech-background applicants atm. If you are just looking for a career change and/or challenge, go to an M7 BSchool, spend two years partying, and go back to the tech world in a different capacity. This option will also let you continue exersizing you entrepreneurial persuasion (presumably why you work for a startup); as far as I know, the big law life is anything but entrepreneurial. Just something to consider.

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Deep Trench
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby Deep Trench » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:59 am

I was an engineer making 80~90k a year in a city where COL was low, had a 5-br house, and had kids (still do of course), but I decided to quit my work and go to law school. I am a rising 2L at T14, and I am glad that I took the plunge. I really enjoyed my 1L. I found it to be intellectually stimulating and fun experience overall. My first semester grades were disappointing (bottom 40%), but I thought I would still have a good chance finding a job due to my technical background, and that greatly reduced the pressure. I did much better in the second semester, and I am at upper 25% overall after 1L.

It still remains to be seen how I will do this summer finding a SA position and how I will like my job as a lawyer if I am hired. However, I don't regret my choice now, and I didn't regret it when the first semester grades came out. Life is not just about balancing opportunity costs and net cash flow. You have only xx years to live. The more important "opportunity costs" in life are the things that you dreamed about doing but never got to give it a try before it became too late.

I am not saying that you should be reckless and risk everything you have. It seems like with your technical background, you should have a pretty good chance finding a decent-paying job if you went to a good law school. Maybe you will not make enough money to make up for the lost wages and tuition. Maybe you won't like the legal field. But that is life. At least you tried.

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rayiner
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby rayiner » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:07 am

Mad Hatter wrote:
rayiner wrote:
englawyer wrote:he would not be in upper management. code monkey -> ceo is pretty damn unlikely. and if you do that path, the level of sacrifice and career-dedication is probably higher than even biglaw (think like taking an overseas office assignment for a few years, constant traveling, etc).


I mean this is the gist of it. To move into upper management you need to go spend 2 years and $150k getting an MBA. You're not "working your way up" at a mature, established F500 tech company.

Also, I used to work at a startup, so I have a pretty good idea of the situation OP is in. Startups are a great way to get experience and pay raises while young, but they're not big enough to have real upward career trajectories inside the company. And even in this day and age of Dewey, they're far more risky than law firms.

Yeah I was just about to recommend the MBA path to OP. BSchools admissions won't penalize much for the "low" (pretty avg for Bschools) GPA, especially if you have a 750+ GMAT (not hard for an American engineer), and top BSchools are really hungry for tech-background applicants atm. If you are just looking for a career change and/or challenge, go to an M7 BSchool, spend two years partying, and go back to the tech world in a different capacity. This option will also let you continue exersizing you entrepreneurial persuasion (presumably why you work for a startup); as far as I know, the big law life is anything but entrepreneurial. Just something to consider.


B-School is 2 years of opportunity cost and tons of expense as well. Cost of attendance at Kellogg is $81k/year. And as noted previously, OP has legitimate chance at scholarship money if he scores 175+. He has no shot at money at an M7, simply because B-schools give out very little money.

Also: with experience in startups, he's not getting into HBS/GSB/Wharton. He has no shot at finance post-MBA, and a pretty slim shot at M/B/B consulting. These are the only tracks that have better salary prospects than law, and the latter only does so if you make it into a VP/CEO level position after you flame out of McKinsey in two years.

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yuzu
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby yuzu » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:54 am

hpk wrote:I'm a 26 year old software engineer who's kind of sick of software development.

I used to be something like that.

[W]ould the total cost of law school (tuition plus the opportunity cost of 3 years of missed income) be worth getting onto a new track with a larger income ceiling?

Back of the envelope numbers: lose $330k income plus $150k post-tax tuition, gain around $30k that you'll still make as a summer associate. So law school costs ~$500k.
After law school, if you are in a large market and average your first 10 years of practice, you'll make about $200k a year. If that's an extra $80k over engineering, that's $800k gained.
Net gain of $300k over 13 years. However, this may be offset by the large market's higher cost of living, student loan interest, etc.
After those 13 years, you might become partner (making vastly more money) or continue in the $200s, so the extra income is likely sustained over decades. So yes, there is financial benefit. But you might have to work harder for it.

I've heard two very different stories about patent law: that it's mind-numbingly dull work, consisting of endless patent applications and not much else, and that it's a highly engaging environment, requiring constant learning and lots of new challenges. Anyone care to offer their opinions?

I've heard two very different stories about engineering. Some people say it's boring work with dry specifications, code that doesn't work, and little human interaction. Others say it's really very interesting, with lots of learning and new challenges. I think which one it is depends on your personality, and if you really hate engineering, patent work will be no different.

There is also a distinction between patent prosecution and litigation. Prosecution is a more relaxed, "dull" lifestyle; litigation is intense and you work really hard but it's engaging.

Here's the question I ask: if law is that much worse, then why don't patent attorneys quit and become engineers? After all, most of them are well qualified. The fact that few patent attorneys leave the profession seems to imply that it's not a bad gig.

Would shooting for a T14 school be reasonable? Would going to my local T20 state school be a waste?

Apply to T14 schools. If you want to stay in your current city for life the T20 could make sense over a T14 admission.

How are IP/patent law job prospects in the Midwest? Would I have to move to one of the coasts in order to actually find an interesting and high-paying job?

They exist but pay less and have fewer positions. You would not necessarily have to move to Chicago or the coasts, but you may well decide to.


Consider taking the patent bar before law school. It will help your job search during law school, and it will give you some idea of what patent practice is like. And practice the LSAT - even above 170 a few points can make a big difference.

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fenix916
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby fenix916 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:24 am

Yea let me chime in here. I got a big law job offer for $160k a year...do you know how often my peers and I say "fuck, we should have been engineers?"

I'm not fucking with you, we have this conversation all the time. Can we switch jobs? You come work my big law job (and pay my loans) and I'll go try and learn software shit for $110k a year.

Seriously though, you probably got a good thing going...good for you.

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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby fenix916 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:28 am

but to be more helpful...I got into some T14s with a 3.28 and a 170. You bring your score up at all, and I think you're golden.

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Kring345
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby Kring345 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:57 am

lnllnl wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:Grownups who have had jobs/career prior to law school understand that just because you have a job, and perhaps a job that pays well doesn't mean you can't consider a career change.


+1

+1

Tons of kids on here are K-JD and have never actually worked a day in their life. They think the law market is HORRIBLE, and theyre likely right. But there are very few fields that are booming, and those that do still require 65+ hrs a week and pay far less than 160k STARTING salary.

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rayiner
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby rayiner » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:21 am

fenix916 wrote:Yea let me chime in here. I got a big law job offer for $160k a year...do you know how often my peers and I say "fuck, we should have been engineers?"

I'm not fucking with you, we have this conversation all the time. Can we switch jobs? You come work my big law job (and pay my loans) and I'll go try and learn software shit for $110k a year.


If you're programming at a high level, the kind of job where you can pull in $110k+ and have real upward mobility, you'll deal with long hours, high stress, etc. Big law clients are more demanding, but in software engineering you have to deal with other peoples' code which adds a whole new dimension of suck you can't even conceive of. I used to work at a start up, and during the summers before major milestones I'd be working 80-100 hour weeks for months at a time, getting paid a lot less than $160k for it...

If you want a low-stress 9-5, you can have that in engineering, but you'll be making $80k. You can have that in law too, just go work for state government or something.

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Kring345
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby Kring345 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:26 am

fenix916 wrote:Yea let me chime in here. I got a big law job offer for $160k a year...do you know how often my peers and I say "fuck, we should have been engineers?"

I'm not fucking with you, we have this conversation all the time. Can we switch jobs? You come work my big law job (and pay my loans) and I'll go try and learn software shit for $110k a year.

Seriously though, you probably got a good thing going...good for you.

Will you be willing to trade your salary in ten years for an engineers salary w ten years experience? It's not all about money, of course. QOL is more important to most. So I ask, Are you or any of your friends engineers? Do you know that most engineer work horrible hours too? Do you even know what an "engineer" does? I feel like most people picture an engineer standing triumphantly over a bridge he's designing or carefully constructing a motherboard. The grass is ways greener on the other side...

It's farking ridiculous to me that 25 year olds can have a job making 160k a year with great benefits and fantastic exit options or upward mobility and STILL complain. Holy fuck. There are literally billions of people who would take your place in a second. Tell me more about how your life sucks.

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crossarmant
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby crossarmant » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:09 am

rayiner wrote:If you want a low-stress 9-5, you can have that in engineering, but you'll be making $80k. You can have that in law too, just go work for state government or something.


Except you're more likely to find one of those in engineering and not have to take out $100k+ in student loans or spend more time in school. I think with engineering, you're contributing something to society and you're making solid money with which to start a family and live a genuinely fine life. I think there's too much risk involved in giving up a solid career to pursue law just because you're bored.

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IAFG
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Re: Engineer considering switching to law - should I do it?

Postby IAFG » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:43 am

I just want to through in that the common assumption ITT that OP will be paying sticker for law school may not be valid. I am not paying sticker with my 3.48, and it seems like schools have only gotten more generous in the past couple years.




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